Holiday Intent: Giving is Receiving and Receiving is Giving

'Tis the season of giving and receiving

We say that this is the most wonderful time of the year, but it can be the most stressful time of the year especially for those of us who have to plan everything and make sure everyone on our list is looked after. And while this season is all about giving, are we good receivers?

I think we’ve all been conditioned, I say conned into believing that the holidays are all about the presents meaning gifts instead of our presence meaning our awareness or our mindfulness. We’ve been consumed by consumerism, and we are very good at shopping and giving gifts of our time and resources.

This is especially true for women because when it comes to the logistics and planning for the holidays, as CEO of the family in most cases, women are in charge of the preparation and implementation. In other words, they do the giving and very often they miss out on a great gift, which is receiving.

We know how to give, but not how to receive 

This doesn’t only apply to the holidays. How many times have you been given a compliment about your outfit only to dismiss it by saying something to diminish it…like sharing the deal you got or saying how old it is, instead of a simple heartfelt thank you.


When someone gives us a gift, whether it’s a compliment or a new car, our gift to them is receiving it graciously; that’s when receiving is giving and there’s a lot of power in that to fill someone up with your appreciation for their thoughtful act.

The holidays are about sharing and celebrating together. I think it’s important to know your why when it comes to gift-giving, in general, but especially during the holidays. It’s important that we respect ourselves by honouring our budget and our intention when it comes to giving gifts. We can share from what we have an abundance of. So let’s talk about the why of gift-giving.

There are 3 types of Givers:

  1. There are people who give unconditionally, from the heart with no hidden motive.
  2. There are people who give to get or to receive something in return or give out of obligation.
  3. There are people who give to advance their agenda.

There’s something very soul-satisfying about being the first type of giver when it’s unconditional and without a secret agenda it’s easy and there’s no contest or competition as there is when we give to get something or to gain something.

The energy of giving a gift when it has an agenda attached is heavy unlike the lightness of the first type of giver. We also want to be careful because if we’re always giving to get something, we will feel disappointed because it doesn’t really work and over time, we may even feel resentful and that’s hardly the spirit of the season.

It’s worth learning how to be a good giver and an equally good receiver 

We need to include ourselves in the giving and receiving too. It’s important to give ourselves the resources we need to do the work required and to make sure we aren’t draining ourselves in the process; it means that we give to ourselves first and then give to others.

Also, we benefit when we learn to ask for and receive some help if the situation gets overwhelming; that goes for any time of year. That’s when receiving is giving because we’re giving someone a gift when we allow them to help us out.

The last thought is to let go of all of the false ideas you have about giving and receiving…they’re not separate, they’re not different; they are the same and we are worthy of both.